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Phlegmy cough
palvarad posted:
My little man is 6 months old and just got over having the roseola virus. His fever broke last week, and when I thought he was getting better suddenly this cough develops. He started coughing lightly but then now its turned into a productive cough where he's coughing up phlegm. At first it was clear but now it's yellowish green. Other than the cough he doesn't seem to be running a temperature, but it is worrying me because it's disrupting his sleep at night. He gives me these helpless looks and I want to cry while I soothe him because there's nothing I can do. The coughing is not constant but it's occurred a few times a day since about Thursday, and whenever he sneezes he sneezes out mucus. My poor baby is having a time of it and keeps crying when I clean his nose. I've been using saline solution and suctioning out the mucus to help him breathe. I tried doing a steam shower one particularly bad night but I have asthma and can't stay in there for long. He's okay otherwise, but that cough scares me!

I'm waiting for the doctor to call me back to give me her advice, but I wanted to hear other opinions.

Thanks in advance.
kell0613 responded:
DD had almost exactly what you described about 2 weeks ago. At first it was a stuffy nose, then coughing clear mucus, then coughing up yellow/green stuff. No fever. The Dr said to do EXACTLY what you're doing - bulb syringe, saline, humidifier. She said that it is good if it a productive cough, because they're getting it OUT. We ended up taking her in to the office (I was afraid she was going to get pneumonia...but I have a tendency to overreact...) And she was at the very beginning stages of an ear infection. She didn't even have a fever yet.
I know the cough sounds bad, but it sounds as if it is helping him clear his chest. I'm guessing he just has a little bug, and will probably be fine. (Oh, and DD would scream bloody murder when I suctioned her nose too )
Kelly (26) DH (32) and DD Nola born 9/24/2011
Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP responded:
Hi palvarad,
I am so sorry to hear that your little guy has gone from one illness to the next! I wanted to give you a few tips for things to watch for with coughs in babies. Always listen to your mommy instincts, but when you're not sure whether to worry, here are a few things to take note of when it comes to coughs:
1. Watch your baby breathing while he's naked....yes, naked! You'll be able to see if he is "sucking in" between his ribs or above his collarbone (these are called retractions). Retractions can be a sign that your baby is breathing too hard, and is a reason to contact the doctor right away.
2. Watch for flaring of his nostrils. This can also be a sign that he is working too hard to breathe.
3. Watch for fast breathing or panting like a dog. In the midst of a coughing "fit", babies will often breath fast, but if he's breathing like he just ran a sprint while he's sleeping or sitting/lying quietly, that's not normal, and is a sign that it's time to call the doctor.

In the meantime, keep doing what you are doing - nasal saline, bulb suctioning, and a cool mist humidifier are the mainstays of treating most coughs and colds in babies. Best of luck to you and keep us updated on how he's doing!
Dr. DuMond
palvarad replied to Sara DuMond, MD, FAAP's response:
I just thought of something. (a bit late too). There is construction going on behind my building and although the windows we have facing the site are closing and covered with a tarp they hung from the roof of the building down to the sidewalk, we still get dust from the work being done. I wonder if my little man is reacting to that mess?? Ugh I wouldn't be surprised. He's still coughing badly at night and I think that wretched construction isn't helping.

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